LAWRENCEVILLE - When plans first surfaced more than a year ago for a 323-home subdivision between Grayson and Loganville, area residents lobbied against it.
On Tuesday, however, a rezoning for the project quickly sailed through the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners with no citizens trying to block it.
What changed? The developer, Richardson Housing Group, trimmed the project by 103 homes and offered to delay building the residences on Hope Hollow Lane for one year.
The delay is intended to lessen the development's impact on the overcrowded Grayson schools cluster and move the subdivision's completion date closer to when the state will widen traffic-clogged Ga. Highway 20.
Mitch Peevy, a consultant hired by the Lawrenceville developer to help with the rezoning, said upping the sizes of the 220 homes also eased neighborhood concerns. Their average size will be 2,700 square feet.
"It was all one big pie," Peevy said when asked which concessions helped tamp opposition to the rezoning.
Restrictions placed on the rezoning by commissioners say homes cannot be built for one year. Only 50 can be built for six months after that, followed by a 12-month period when another 75 homes are possible.
County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, whose district includes the Grayson area, said developers have begun proposing the delayed building schedule to help get their rezonings passed.
Usually the rezonings are in school clusters experiencing overcrowding, and ideally they give the school system time to add more space.
"We put it on (rezoning) cases where it's needed," Beaudreau said.
Also Tuesday, commissioners approved a permit that will let developers add a golf driving range to a shopping center they plan to build near Duluth.
The retail center will occupy a strip of land that stretches a half-mile along Satellite Boulevard near Beaver Ruin Road. It will have buildings totaling roughly 300,000 square feet, which is equal to about three Wal-Mart Supercenters.